Building ships? Not in my backyard!
February 5, 2013
One would think that after more than 30 years of shipbuilding on a certain site that people would get used to the idea. You'd be wrong.
Just ask David Stimson. He's the guy up in Boothbay Harbor who restored the HMS Bounty recently (before it met its demise), along with a number of other old schooners you've probably heard of, as part of his work managing Boothbay Harbor Shipyard. He also runs an operation on his home property in Boothbay, called Stimson Marine, in Burnham Cove.
Or, rather, he used to. Until the town shut his operation down, citing zoning ordinances.
Truly, it makes no sense. He's been building and repairing vessels on the property since 1981, but because of a brief time in Martha's Vineyard when his home yard was dark, he's not grandfathered in. A new ordinance passed about 12 years ago says he's in a residential area where "manufacturing" isn't allowed.
Why is this all coming to a head now? Well, of course, a couple of neighbors complained:
Another person known to have complained publicly is John Kelley, Tomacelli's neighbor on Burnham Cove Road. He reportedly winters in Florida and was unavailable for comment. But according to local reports, Kelley is a New Hampshire land surveyor who built a Boothbay retirement home. He is quoted in the Boothbay Register as saying, "If there were noxious uses allowed next door to me, I probably wouldn’t have bought the property.”
Kelley is also quoted by the newspaper as saying, “I have no problem if the honest opinion of the residents (is that) this should occur in a residential zone. But the question that really needs to be asked is, would you want Boothbay Harbor Shipyard to move in next door to you tomorrow?"
Some surveyor. He didn't notice the shipyard when he was sitting in his new house 1,000 feet down the road? And, in case you didn't notice, dude, you moved in next to Stimson, not the other way around.
So, now Stimson is left with a half-built schooner on his land and no ability to finish the work and get paid. He's considering moving over to Belfast. Word is, they'll make sure he can do his work wherever he finds a spot. Assuming he can find a spot.
Seems like he's got a good one right where he is. Other than the neighbors.